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A Lenten Prayer and Reflection

Lent is that special holy season when we give thanks that God knows the secret longings and pains of our hearts and we open ourselves to God’s desire to comfort, unbind and heal us.

It is a time also to focus on God’s great love in us and for us that empowers us to bring God’s inclusive, generous love into our fragile and broken world.  We can’t stop the speeding wheels of dark news in our neighborhoods, country and world, but each one of our counter-actions slows down those wheels. 

Our Lenten call is not to imitate Jesus’ actions, but rather to imitate his mindset, his attitude, his relational style.  Jesus enfleshed the mind and heart of God:  No one – rich or marginalized, saint or sinner, Jew or Gentile, woman or man, respectable or not – is excluded from God’s love, care, mercy and purpose.  In Pope Francis’ words, we are called to live an inclusive culture of encounter and accompaniment.  Similarly, the mission of Sacred Heart Academy and the Sisters of St. Joseph asks us to live and witness unity, reconciliation and God’s inclusive love to all without exception.

A Lenten Litany

Instead of harsh judgments of others, we pray to model our God of love, tenderness and mercy.

Instead of feelings of discontent and entitlement, we pray for an attitude of gratitude.

Instead of words that hurt or denigrate, we pray to speak words that lift up others.

Instead of impatience and frustration, we pray for patience, insight and understanding.

Instead of useless worry and pessimism, we pray for hope, inner peace and wisdom.

Instead of focusing on differences that divide us, we pray to accept and appreciate the differences.

Instead of bitterness and revenge, we pray for the grace to mend broken bonds.

Instead of relationships marked by hardness and brokenness, we pray for relationships marked by love, unity and forgiveness.

Instead of being a bystander to hurtful, false or discriminating words, we pray for courage and for right words to speak the truth in love.

We pray this in the name of Jesus for ourselves, our family and friends, our country and all humanity.